Fear and shortages threaten tourism


Greek hoteliers are being bombarded with questions from tourists and tour operators as to whether they have electricity, whether there is gasoline for transfer vehicles or fuel for airplanes’ return flights, and whether there are likely to be food or drink shortages.

Since banks were ordered to stay shut and credit controls came into force on Monday, hoteliers have been trying to calm tourists’ fears as well as contain their own losses from the government’s decision to call a referendum. The freeze in bookings for the rest of the season has created particular concern among hoteliers, while the number of cancellations continues to climb.

One of the issues worrying the tourism market concerning the restrictions on bank transactions is the serious prospect of food and drink shortages at accommodation units. The head of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) argued that existing supplies will only suffice up to the middle of next week, given the halt in imports.

Tourism entrepreneurs add that if ATMs run out of money, the government’s decision to allow international visitors to make unlimited withdrawals will be automatically void, as the cash simply won’t be there.

Cancellations by foreign as well as domestic holidaymakers and the freeze in bookings for areas such as Pilio in central Greece have led a number of small accommodation units to partially close their businesses. The lack of bookings has led hotel owners to decide against implementing plans to hire additional staff made before the referendum was called.

Furthermore, the wave of negative publicity Greek has suffered in the international media due to the government’s recent decisions hit the country’s tourism profile hard, to say nothing of the travel guidelines several countries (including some of Greece’s main tourism markets) have issued to citizens, including warnings about the situation they may face in Greece.